There is Power in the Past

The Politicization of Archaeology and Heritage in the Star Wars Universe


  • Stephanie Halmhofer University of Alberta
  • Alex Fitzpatrick University of Bradford



Star Wars, Heritage, Archaeology, Pseudoarchaeology, Nationalism, Alt-Right


Heritage (and by extension, archaeology) is an important part of the Star Wars universe. Both the Jedi and the Sith share teachings revolving around sites and artifacts important to their heritage and identities, and archaeologists like Dr. Chelli Aphra have played important roles in the development and maintenance of such heritage. However, the politicization of sites and artifacts by many groups and individuals has also served as motivation behind significant schisms, battles, imperialism, and resistance. As professional archaeologists, we have become familiar with the ways these themes are also appearing within our real-world discipline. This paper will broadly examine the roles that archaeology and heritage play in the Star Wars universe. Using examples from both canon media and expanded universe (now referred to as Legends) lore, this paper will explore the ways in which political factions manipulate and weaponize heritage and archaeology to their benefit. These examples will then be discussed within real world contexts to illustrate how Star Wars is ultimately a perfect encapsulation of the political powers inherent in archaeology and heritage studies, and the resistance to the manipulation of these fields.




How to Cite

Halmhofer, S., & Fitzpatrick, A. (2023). There is Power in the Past: The Politicization of Archaeology and Heritage in the Star Wars Universe. Unbound: A Journal of Digital Scholarship, 3(1), 14–23.